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Monday, 31 January 2011

Your words are welcome Dr Williams – but only to a point

Gay Humanists in the UK have welcomed the Archbishop of Canterbury’s condemnation of the murder of Ugandan gay activist David Kato, found bludgeoned to death last week.

The gay- and human-rights community were shocked when Kato – who once went to jail for his campaigning – was found dead in his Kampala home.

Three weeks ago, the 42-year-old campaigner won a court case against the Ugandan magazine Rolling Stone (which has no connection to the music magazine of the same name), which had been publishing the names of gay people and advising readers to inform on them to the police.

Kato had told friends of increased harassment since the court case.

Of his brutal murder, Archbishop Rowan Williams said: “No one should have to live in such fear because of the bigotry of others. Such violence has been consistently condemned by the Anglican Communion worldwide . . . This is a moment to take very serious stock and to address those attitudes of mind which endanger the lives of men and women belonging to sexual minorities.”

However, commenting on behalf of the Pink Triangle Trust (PTT), secretary George Broadhead said: “It is a pity that the Archbishop doesn’t acknowledge that, though they may have condemned violence, his fellow Anglicans’ ‘attitudes of mind’, to use his own words , on LGBT relationships and rights have contributed to this appalling murder and the dire situation for all LGBT people in Uganda.”

Broadhead referred to Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill, proposed by MP David Bahati. He quotes the Anglican Church of Uganda, which has said: “We appreciate the spirit of the Bill’s objective of protecting the family, especially in light of a growing propaganda to influence younger people to accept homosexuality as a legitimate way of expressing human sexuality. We particularly appreciate the objectives of the Bill which seek to provide for marriage in Uganda as contracted only between a man and woman; prohibit and penalise homosexual behaviour and related practices in Uganda as they constitute a threat to the traditional family; prohibit ratification of any international treaties, conventions, protocols, agreements and declarations which are contrary or inconsistent with the provisions of the Act; prohibit the licensing of organizations which promote homosexuality.”

Broadhead asks: “Doesn’t the Archbishop realise that the ‘bigotry of others’, which he refers to, must include members of his own Anglican Church?

“More homophobic bigotry in Uganda has come from US religious ministers like Carl Ellis Jenkins, Lou Engle, and Scott Lively, whose hateful and dangerous anti-LGBT rhetoric and actions must also have contributed in no small measure to the death of David Kato and the hostility of the Ugandan population as a whole. Will the Archbishop of Canterbury condemn them?”

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